Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Snowball in Hell:
The Momentum of Same-Sex Marriage in Our Sulfurous Polity

Glenn Greenwald’s column in The Guardian the other day, “The gay marriage snowball and political change,” makes an important point about how the growing momentum of the movement for same-sex marriage rights demonstrates that change, even radical and rapid change, is possible.  No matter what the outcome of the present Supreme Court deliberations, we have already witnessed an extraordinary, and extraordinarily rapid, change in social ideology, as well as legal and institutional practices. As Greenwald says: “It's conventional wisdom that national gay marriage is inevitable; the tipping point has clearly been reached. …It really is a bit shocking how quickly gay marriage transformed from being a fringe, politically toxic position just a few years ago to a virtual piety that must be affirmed in decent company.”

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Apology Excepted:
Obama’s Turkish Twist

Following up on yesterday’s post about how the American media disappeared a Palestinian dissident and an American victim of Israeli aggression in one fell swoop of ideological misrecognition.

No apology
Furkan Dorgan in Turkey before he was killed by the IDF 

As this story in the New York Times (NYT) describes, in a dramatic last-minute, on-the-tarmac-before-takeoff telephone negotiation, Obama went out of his way to “broker” a deal whereby Israel would give an apology (one of those sorry for “any mistakes” non-apology apologies, to be sure) to Turkey for the killing of nine people during the 2010 Israeli raid the on the Turkish-flagged vessel Mavi Marmara in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in exchange for Turkey’s restoration of full diplomatic ties with Israel. 

Restoring what historically has been a friendly relationship between Israel and Turkey is, you see, good for Israel. As both the NYT and the Jerusalem Post (JP) report, it means that Turkey will drop its criminal indictments against Israeli military officials, and it will open the door for Israel “to upgrade its ties with NATO, something that Turkey, as a NATO member, had continuously vetoed.“ It will also help the American-Israeli effort to, as the NYT so delicately puts it, “confront Syria’s civil war.”  Indeed, the JP reports that Syria was the decisive factor for Netanyahu, who posted that: “The fact that the crisis in Syria is getting worse by the minute was the central consideration in my eyes.”  As Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser, Yaakov Amidror, puts it: “What we wanted is to get to a situation where the relationship will be upgraded so that we can cooperate more regarding Syria, and will give Israel more freedom of action in the Middle East and elsewhere.”

More (?!) “freedom of action” for Israel. (N.B. NATO, “and elsewhere”?!!)  Just the formula for peace that the world needs.

So, in order to restore Israel’s beneficial relation to Turkey, open the door for Israel’s de facto integration into NATO, bring everyone on the same page for destroying the Syrian State, and, generally, everywhere, ”give Israel more freedom of action,” Obama used his newly-lauded “talent for arm-twisting” to get the Israeli Prime Minister to apologize to Turkey for an incident in which an American citizen was also killed – but nary a twist, tweak, word or suggestion about an apology to the United States, Israel’s uniquely generous patron. Love is never having to say you’re sorry. Or, the American Israel lobby would never allow that.
As Dave Lindorff points out in this cogent post, the American media “are full of glowing reports and praise” for Obama’s display of tough-minded diplomatic prowess.  Of course, neither would the American president “bother to demand that Netanyahu include an apology, weak or otherwise, to the American people for the killing of an American national,” nor would the American media bother to notice that he hadn’t.  Not allowed.

Some might find “the idea that this president cannot demand even a mild apology from an Israeli prime minister for the brutal slaughter of an unarmed US citizen, even as he is brokering such an apology for the killing of nine Turkish citizens … beyond appalling.”  “Some,” who will not be found – will not be allowed – in the Democratic or Republican parties, or in the mainstream media.

So after being killed by the IDF with “two shots to the face fired at close range …as he lay already gravely wounded … having been already shot in the back, leg and foot,” Furkan Dorgan, along with Rachel Corrie and the sailors of the USS Liberty, officially joins the ranks of Americans with whom, when it comes to Israel’s “freedom of action,” the President of the United States and the American media cannot be bothered.

The Heart of the Matter: US Media Replace Rachel Corrie with Israeli Spy

When a young man interrupted President Obama's speech, shouting in Hebrew, American media outlets reported that the man was protesting about Jonathan Pollard, the imprisoned Israeli spy.  The heckler was actually an Arab-Israeli student who was questioning Obama's arming of the apartheid state and the American government's complicity in the killing of Rachel Corrie.

As reported by Philip Weiss (based on Linah Alsaafin's story at Electronic Intifada):
Twenty-five-year-old Rabeea Eid, a student activist and member of the National Democratic Assembly, had heard and had enough. He stood up in the middle of Obama’s speech and called him out on three issues that summarized the flaccid nature and flagrant inefficacy of Obama’s visit to occupied Palestine.
“Did you really come here for peace or to give Israel more weapons to kill and destroy the Palestinian people? Did you happen to see the apartheid wall on your way here?”
“There are Palestinians sitting in this hall. This state should be for all of its citizens, not a Jewish state only.”
“Who killed Rachel Corrie? Rachel Corrie was killed by your money and weapons!”
So the American media render invisible an Arab student who tried to make visible an American victim of Israel, replacing him with an assumed Israeli defender of a spy against America, and erasing Rachel Corrie and other American victims of Israel once again. The mind sees what the heart feels. We know where the mind and heart of the American media are.

Alsaafin quotes Eid on Obama's firmly Israel-embedded discourse: “I couldn’t stand listening to the speech any more....It was a very Zionist speech that made other speeches by Zionist figures pale in comparison.”

Indeed, Eid's remarks go to the heart of the problematic of Zionism ("not a Jewish state only"), and the American government's fateful embrace thereof ("your money and weapons" killed Rachel Corrie). Would that more Americans have the courage to interrupt this deadly dance and the phony narrative melody that accompanies it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"I feel a lot of horror"
Remember Rachel Corrie

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. Rachel was a 23-year-old  peace activist from Olympia, Washington and a student at Evergreen State College, who was crushed to death by an Israeli/American (Caterpillar) bulldozer on March 16th, 2003, while trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. As Tom Wright and Therese Saliba correctly state in a Counterpunch piece, Rachel was killed resisting a "policy of mass collective punishment, and deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, a war crime."

For nine years, Rachel's parents, Craig and Cindy, sought some kind of justice from the American and Israeli legal and political systems, only to confront "a powerful and deeply entrenched foreign policy apparatus that grants virtual impunity to Israel, even for the killing of an American peace activist."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Creating Enemies


(Even though thoroughly consistent with analysis of Syria in posts here.)

Set up the "rebellion," in order to attack the "rebels"! Could it be any clearer that the foreign policy of the United States has come to creating enemies in order to perpetuate the "war on terror" everywhere and forever.

Did I mention that they're going to cut Social Security and Medicare to pay for this? ("DC’s Worst-Kept Budget Secret: Lots Of Democrats Support Entitlement Cuts")

From Los Angeles Times:

CIA begins sizing up Islamic extremists in Syria for drone strikes

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Picture of Inequality

Most Americans carry around in their heads an image of the socio-economic world they live in that is inaccurate on the order of psychosis. It's as if they saw the Empire State Building as 50 feet tall. And it's important that they do not have it corrected. That's why this video, which seems to have gone viral, is an excellent educational tool. (Despite its ritual dismissal of "socialism.") Burn this more accurate picture in your mind. And understand how "middle class" is a muddling concept.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

American Media Chronicles Failures of Crazy Chavez

He just couldn't get his priorities straight!

AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers

By Jim Naureckas
From  FAIR:

One of the more bizarre takes on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death comes from Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson (3/5/13):
Chavez invested Venezuela's oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world's tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.
That's right: Chavez squandered his nation's oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world's tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

Source: NACLA's Keane Bhatt

In case you're curious about what kind of results this kooky agenda had, here's a chart (NACLA,10/8/12) based on World Bank poverty stats–showing the proportion of Venezuelans living on less than $2 a day falling from 35 percent to 13 percent over three years. (For comparison purposes, there's a similar stat for Brazil, which made substantial but less dramatic progress against poverty over the same time period.)

Of course, during this time, the number of Venezuelans living in the world's tallest building went from 0 percent to 0 percent, while the number of copies of the Mona Lisa remained flat, at none. So you have to say that Chavez's presidency was overall pretty disappointing–at least by AP's standards.

Tree-Huggers for Drones

Stephen Colbert on the Eco-friendly assassination program.

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